TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says a government grant of up to $85.8 million to Fiat Chrysler to support production of a plug-in hybrid electric minivan is not "corporate welfare."

Wynne made the announcement today at the Fiat Chrysler Automotive Research and Development Centre in Windsor.

The government says the investment for the Chrysler Pacifica will safeguard the Windsor assembly plant, where Chrysler added 1,200 new jobs on top of 4,000 existing positions to produce the minivan.

Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid says Chrysler will have to submit invoices to the provinces of investments they have made in order to get the grant money.

Wynne says her government made the decision to "partner" with the auto industry, a critical sector in Ontario, but that doesn't make it "corporate welfare."

Ontario's Liberal government has a long history of providing money to automakers, and teamed up with the federal government in 2009 to contribute $10.6 billion to Chrysler Canada and GM Canada to keep them afloat during the recession.

When Ontario sold its GM and Chrysler shares, it gained about $1.1 billion on its original $4.8-billion bailout package to the two automakers.

Wynne is set to meet later Wednesday in Detroit with Ford Motor Company executive vice president Joseph Hinrichs and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.


by: ctvnews.ca